Developmental toxicity and molecular responses of marine medaka (Oryzias melastigma) embryos to ciguatoxin P-CTX-1 exposure

Meng Yan, Priscilla T.Y. Leung*, Jack C.H. Ip, Jin Ping Cheng, Jia Jun Wu, Jia Rui Gu, Paul K.S. Lam*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articlepeer-review

28 Citations (Scopus)


Ciguatoxins are produced by toxic benthic dinoflagellates and cause ciguatera fish poisoning worldwide, but the toxic effects on developing marine fish have not been well investigated. The Pacific ciguatoxin (P-CTX-1), is a potent sodium channel agonist, which is one of the most toxic members among all CTXs. This study evaluated the toxic effects of microinjecting purified Pacific ciguatoxin-1 (P-CTX-1) on embryonic development of marine medaka Oryzias melastigma. A lower 96 h-LD50 value was estimated for eleuthero-embryos (1.32 ng g−1) than that for embryos (1.71 ng g−1), indicating that P-CTX-1 is more lethal to newly hatched medaka larvae. P-CTX-1 induced detrimental effects during embryonic development, including hatching failure, abnormalities in physical development (caudal fin malformation and spinal deformities), internal damage (green coloration of the gall bladder and hemorrhaging), immune dysfunction, and altered muscle physiology (bradycardia and hyperkinetic twitching). The results of a transcriptional expression analysis of genes related to the stress/immune responses, cardiac and bone development, and apoptosis supported the observed developmental abnormalities. This study advanced the understanding of P-CTX-1 mediated toxic mechanisms in the development of early life stages of a fish, and thus contributed to the toxicity assessment of CTXs in marine ecosystems.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)149-159
Number of pages11
JournalAquatic Toxicology
Publication statusPublished - Apr 2017


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